Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2019 >Daily Dispatch #201

July 23, 2019: The Vigilante Rodeo Grounds: Hurry Up and Wait

So here we are, in Butte, Montana, at the Vigilante Rodeo Grounds. The three mares are now sequestered in a large corner enclosure – it’s the biggest pen, with possible contact with other horses on just one side. And right now, the other horses are farther down the shed row. They don’t have a shed – just as well, sheds are more apt to contain contagions. There are 14, count ‘em, 14 pens/stalls on each side of two buildings. This place can accommodate 44 horses. There are 20 or so, plus one burro and several sheep, and one huge longhorn cow on the premises. Two sets of rodeo competitors, each having live in trailers, are at the far end of the shed row. We were told by one of the women barrel racers that there is going to be a rodeo this weekend in Helena.

We arrived here, and as I tended to the horses, Pete scheduled a health exam for the horses, Thursday at 9 a.m. sharp. It’s Tuesday evening. This means we’ll have time to look up old friends tomorrow. It’s very hot here. I poured water on the horses – they don’t take kindly to being hosed down.

This morning we woke up in Dubois, Wyoming. We had hoped to spend the night at the Idaho Falls Rodeo Grounds, but this was a no go. All that was available was stall space. It was very hot. I said to Pete that we did not want to put the horses in stalls with no enclosures.He agreed, and so we then took to the road again.

Dubois, Wyoming Rodeo Grounds

Kong and his owner
Kong and his owner

Dubois turned out to be a most curious place. It is a seemingly dead town with empty store fronts. There was no one in sight. Here and there were ramshackle, single one story houses with dirt front yards. A few residents had horses in yards. It was 7 p.m. when we arrived in this town. There were a handful of cars in front of the Dubois Mental Health Center. I wondered if perhaps an AA meeting was going on inside.

The rodeo ground was easy to find, being on the furthest end of town. It, like the adjacent properties, was ramshackle. As typical of many rodeo grounds, the fences and grandstand area needed painting, and there were weeds everywhere. I found a clean pen and said it would do. Pete and I then spent the next half hour pulling weeds and taking out small bits of detritus (a task that is also common at rodeo grouinds). I walked around, went up into the announcer’s booth and found a small crumpled piece of paper. It was the schedule of events for the July 15, 2019 rodeo. So, apparently the facility is still in use. The place had character. I took lots of photos with my Nikon.

We ate dinner and took in a beautiful sunset. To our right, in a barbed wire enclosure was a lone Clydesdale who I nicknamed Max. He seemed to be well cared for – he was at least of good weight. He had white feathers on his legs and white feathers on his nose.

The pastured horse as well as ours seemed to fare quite well during a late evening thunderstorm. As I said (again) to Pete, “this one is a little too close.”
This morning the horses’ owners, both riding a single four-wheeler, came by and gave him some treats and made sure that his water trough was full. They had an old steel milk container on the rear of their vehicle for water. The woman, who was older, had fading blonde hair, fed him by hand while the fellow, also older, and wearing suspenders, green kakis and a work shirt, stood talking. The woman told me that the Clydesdales name is Kong – he is 26. He used to have a buddy named King, but he passed away a few years back. I was told that Kong hadn’t had his feet trimmed because draft horses don’t need it. Stupid, stupid, horse owners I thought. If I had extra room in my trailer. . . .

Next: 202. July 24, 2019: Do the Right Thing

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles